GINA, GUYANA, Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson in defence of government’s national 2017 budget today, in the National Assembly, pointed out that tax exemptions and reductions under the current administration will be in keeping with delivering the good life to all Guyanese.
“Budget 2017 is constructed to deliver a better quality of life for the citizens of Guyana. Honourable Members of the Opposition – Don’t give Guyanese a double whammy – deny them ‘betterment’ when you were in power and when you are out of power! Budget 2017 gives you an opportunity to change the fortunes of many Guyanese that contend with your 16% VAT,” Minister Ferguson said.
Meanwhile Opposition MP, Dr. Jennifer Westford, joined with her colleagues in calling on the government side to withdraw the 2017 national budget since it will not contribute to the development of the local work force. “It is against this backdrop that we are saddled with the APNU coalition budget captioned, ‘Building a diversified green economy: delivering the good life to all Guyanese’. What was certainly delivered in this budget were taxes, taxes and more taxes. From the feedback of the citizens, there was a common denominator running through the expressions that were received and it was one that exhibited great concerns, fears in many cases, outright alarm over the measures announced in this budget,” Dr. Westford said.
However, Minister Ferguson pointed out that the initial 16 percent introduction of VAT by the PPP/C has been a burden to Guyanese. This
has led to the government, while in the opposition to call on then (PPP/C administration) to reduce the tax from 16 percent.
Ferguson added, “Mr. Speaker, after the introduction of VAT in 2007 – the Bank of Guyana reported average inflation rate of 12.2% and 14% inflation rate in urban Georgetown and a whopping 28.8% increase in current revenue as a result of VAT.”
Meanwhile, Opposition MP, Colin Croal in his presentation today, said that the taxes that will be imposed on Guyanese in 2017, will be very burdensome and will create lots of hardships for them.
Croal said that the Government is not listening to the public’s outcry since the 2017 Budget was read. The opposition MP said, that if the Government takes away the PPP/C’s views and listen to the outcry of the public, the Government would see that the opposition is not being critical for the sake of criticism.
Croal added that views on the 57 tax measures are also being expressed by the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Guyana Women Miners Association (GWMO) and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA).
Meanwhile Croal’s colleague, Dr. Vindya Persaud shared the same sentiments. Dr. Persaud said that she feels empathy especially for the elderly of the country given the new taxations that will be implemented in the 2017 budget.
The MP said that the Government is completely detached from reality when it comes to the 2017 budget. Dr. Persaud said that under the PPP a lot of sectors were booming, compared to now.
However, Minister Fergurson said that the government has delivered on one of its manifesto promises which was to reduce the VAT, thereby
bringing a two percent tax relief to all Guyanese liable to paying VAT.
“This reduction in VAT will benefit all Guyanese including all honourable members of this assembly. The impact is two-fold; it will allow the consumers to pay less VAT and therefore have more disposable income, and over time, adjustment in wholesale and retail prices that Guyanese pay, making everyone better off,” Ferguson added.
Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo has dubbed the 2017 national budget as the “worst he has seen in Guyana’s history”. Conversely
facts presented by Minister Ferguson pointed to the the years 2011, 2012 & 2013, when the PPPC administration presented Budgets where increases in tax revenues were 11.7%, 11.1% and 8.6% respectively while non-tax revenues increased by 107.21%, 41.26% and 19.46% for 2011, 2012 & 2013 respectively.
“Mr. Speaker, since our government took office in 2015, on an average, year on year increase in taxes were less than that of the PPP Government. For 2015, 2016 and 2017, the year on year increase in tax revenues were 5.4%, 4.9% and 8.1%. In 2015, non-tax revenue decreased by 36.9% while for 2016 and 2017 it increased by 12.3% and 2.2% respectively,” Minister Ferguson added.
Budget 2017 zeros in on major sectors like Education, Health, Infrastructure and Public Security.
By: Delicia Haynes